The definition of “enable” is: to provide with the means or opportunity and to make possible, practical or easy.
Let’s talk about bullying.
Bullying was once considered a rite of passage, a sort of “kids will be kids” thing that was largely tolerated.
As society finally woke up to the damage it caused, bullying was pegged as wrong and not to be tolerated.
We took it a step further and proclaimed that bystanders were just as wrong, because they allowed it to occur while doing nothing, thus enabling the bully and his or her actions by remaining silent.
By and large, society is brimming with enablers.
I’ve been an enabler at times, though I strive not to be one.
I do not agree with the mentality of, “Oh, that’s just Joe. That’s the way he is. We can’t change him. We just gotta let him be Joe and come to it on his own.”
So if Joe is an alcoholic who neglects his children, do we tell his children when they are 18, “Yeah, I could have stepped up, said something, tried to do something, but instead I decided that’s just your dad and the way he is. And well, now you’re 18 and dysfunctional. My bad.”
Too many people shrug their shoulders and say, “Not my problem. That’s his life. That’s her life.”
First, you don’t tell people what they want to hear, you tell them what they need to hear.
It’s easy to ignore things, mind your business, or adopt a New Age-type mentality that the universe will bring people where they need to be on their path.
It’s hard to take a stand and selflessly care. That takes work. Rolling up your sleeves and saying, “This is wrong,” takes work.
So instead many do what is easy and act as enablers.
Reach Editor Stephen Bartlett at firstname.lastname@example.org.